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Tina’s book reviews

Good murder mystery. Some intriguing twists, and the murderer’s identity is quite well hidden.
Raffles is one of those characters who has gone down in literary history. The author was a contemporary of Conan Doyle, and in many ways, Raffles is an anti-Sherlock. He’s also quite typical of the ‘silly-assery’ school of the time. He’s charming, debonair, and an excellent cricketer, but he’s not quite a gentleman, and he’s very short of money. Hence he turns to crime, and we first meet him via his old school pal (and later Watson-like chronicler) Bunny, who is in debt and throws himself on the mercy of Raffles. He then becomes Raffles’ sidekick. The first three books are short stories, with one of them being a sort of prequel to the first, and the last is a full novel. It’s a rollicking read, although the ending is a bit disappointing - it seems rather rushed.
This story centres on a missing will - the inheritance goes to the nearest relations of a factory owner after he and both witnesses are killed in an accident, but the will later turns up, and is found by the Linford Pratt mentioned in the blurb above. I’m usually not very keen on books that reveal the criminal’s identity, but I enjoyed this, even though there were a few holes in it. It has romance, intrigue, money and murder - good ingredients for a crime (if not exactly mystery) novel.
Highly recommend this book. I love the books from the ‘Golden Age’ of crime fiction, but I’d never heard of Madame Rosika Storey - now I’ve read one book, I’m hooked! If you like Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth and Ngaio Marsh, you’ll like this.

This is a bit later than Christie’s books, and there are definite echoes of her in it - Mme Storey reminded me of Poirot, as like him, she’s a professional (rather than an amateur like Miss Marple or Miss Silver) and takes a psychological approach to solving crime. The stories whittle down the suspects, and tend to end with the familiar dénouement scene. However, the book isn’t just a pale Christie wannabe - Mme Storey is a strong character and the stories are well-written and clever. Excellent read.
Very good mystery, although it’s difficult to believe anyone could be quite so saintly (and superstitious) as Agatha Webb. The tragic love story underlying the mystery lift it out of the ordinary whodunnit genre.
This is a sharp satire, in the style of the Gothic novel, which pokes fun at many of the pretensions of the various strata of society. Centred on Nightmare Abbey, the home of the miserable Mr Glowry and his son, Scythrop, the basic story - of a young man who finds himself involved in a love triangle - has elements of farce.

It’s not the easiest book to read, having long stretches of dialogue and musings, but the apt names of the characters do make it easier to follow, and it’s a witty and entertaining read.
This book centres on the mysterious murder of a dancer by a mysterious assailant who strangles her, but leaves behind no trace. Nick Carter is called in, and uncovers the gang behind the murder. It’s a good, fast-paced read, although spoilt a bit for me by the very short paragraphs (possibly a scanning problem), which don’t make for a very good flow. Still, if you can ignore that, it’s an entertaining read.
Obviously, Winnie-the-Pooh has overshadowed A.A. Milne’s work, which is rather a shame. This book, which centres on the search for a missing man, the possible killer of his rakish brother who has returned from Australia, is an excellent mystery, and well worth reading.
Good short story. The plot centres on the investigation of a possible arson in which a man was killed, and has a clever twist at the end.
There are two points on which a bit of suspension of disbelief are needed in reading the Cleek series. Firstly, as the blurb above says, Cleek is able to transform his appearance just by contorting his face - no wigs, makeup, masks or other contrivances required - apparently due to his mother playing with a rubber toy during her pregnancy. How exactly this also adjusts his height and build isn’t explained. Secondly, despite his sobriquet of ‘Hamilton Cleek’ being widely publicised during his criminal days, practically no-one seems to make the connection on the occasions when he uses the same name after he turns to the side of law and order.

Ignore those two implausibilities, and this book is actually quite a good collection of detective stories - consisting of individual cases, but told as a fairly continuous narrative, held together by the underlying thread of Cleek’s efforts to redeem himself and thus gain the affection of the woman with whom he has fallen in love. There is also another underlying thread concerning Cleek’s erstwhile accomplice, Margot, and her present accomplice, Merode, as Cleek occasionally finds himself foiling their plans. The author plays fair for the most part - the reader is given enough information to solve the case as well, although there are a couple in which essential facts are withheld. All in all, a good read, and I look forward to reading the other books in the series.
Claire Duffy - Snarky Protagonists, Dark Facts Blended With Fiction, and Suspenseful Crime-solving
FEATURED AUTHOR - Claire Duffy was a screenwriter for over a decade until she caught herself cycling past a production company and giving it the finger. She decided she didn't like the person the film industry was turning her into. Duffy quit, took a temporary job at a daycare in Stockholm, and wrote her first novel while her class of one-year-olds took their afternoon nap. Through blogging that story in daily chapters, she discovered indie publishing and never looked back.